Post link 09 February 2015, 22:19
February 6th, 2015 | by Barbara Johnson
Archaeologists Discover Tomb of Biblical Queen of Sheba

Ma’rib| A team of archaeologists from the University of Oxford has uncovered a large funeral complex in Northern Yemen, near the ancient capital of the South Arabian kingdom of Saba. Inside one of the tombs, they discovered inscriptions and jewelry that led them to conclude that the tomb belonged to the biblical Queen of Sheba.

The scientists, led by Professor Joseph Lang, were conducting their searches near the ancient Sabaic Temple of Awwām, when their ground-penetrating imaging technology revealed the presence of a large underground structure. They excavated the structure and discovered that it was the funeral complex of some royal figure or powerful leader, dating from the tenth century B.C..

The tomb contained the skeleton of a middle-aged woman of African descent, adorned with luxurious jewelry. The tomb also contained many artefacts, including pottery vases still containing traces of myrrh and frankincense, as well as many clay tablets inscribed in two different ancient scriptures.
Archaeologists have uncovered many engraved clay tablets in the yet undeciphered Sabaean writing, and also a few written in cuneiform script which refer to "Bilkis, Queen of Sheba".

The analysis of the skeleton and the artefacts have revealed that the tomb dated from between 970 and 910 B.C., which would concur with the generally accepted dates for the reign of King Solomon. The frankincense and the myrrh found on the site also constitute a link with the biblical figure, as the Queen of Sheba is said to have brought to Solomon the same gifts that the Magi would later bring to the Christ.

Professor Lang is convinced that the remains and the tomb belong to the same queen whose visit to king Salomon is described in the biblical Book of Kings.

“The carbon-dating, the location, the inscriptions, the characteristics of the skeleton and the nature of the artefacts on the site all seem to confirm that the bones are indeed those of the famous queen regnant who visited Salomon” explains the British archaeologist. “The tomb is located just outside the ruins of Ma’rib, the ancient capital of the kingdom of Saba or Sheba, and many inscriptions in the tomb refer to “Bilqīs, mqtwyt of Sheba’ which means Bilkis, high chieftess on Sheba. All the evidence we have found until now seems to suggest that this is indeed the biblical queen of Sheba.”

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The skeleton was adorned with many pieces of jewelry, made of gold and semiprecious stones imported from as far as the Caucasus and Afghanistan.

This incredible discovery brings an end to a 15-century old debate among scholars concerning the identity of the famous biblical figure who is said to have visited Jerusalem “with a very great retinue, with camels bearing spices, and very much gold, and precious stones” (Book of Kings 10:2).. Many theories had been elaborated about the queen of Sheba, making her alternately the Queen of Egypt or Ethiopia, or even a male King from South Arabia or Zanzibar (named Shan Sheba in Arabic).

The skeleton and all the artefacts found in the tomb have been sent to the National Museum of Yemen in Sanaa, where a new permanent exhibition should make them available to the public. The museum hopes to be able to open this new exposition in May 2015.

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